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Muthokoi (maize without husks) is
a dish among the Kamba community from the Eastern part of Kenya. It entails
removing the outer skin of the maize grains by using a pestle ‘muthi’ and a wooden mortar ‘ndii’.
Pounding – ‘kukima
The traditional way of making muthokoi was done as follows :-
Dry maize was taken from the granary ‘ikumbi’ and put in a large half calabash ‘nzele’ or a plaited tray used for sifting ‘lungo’. To sieve the dirt from the maize a second large calabash
was used; while standing where wind was
Ndii and Muthi
The maize was then put in a mortar ‘ndii’, some water was added to soften it then a wooden pestle ‘muthi’ was used to do the pounding. The
pounding can take about one hour; sometimes it’s done by two people at the same
time to make it faster. As the pounding continues, the maize starts drying and
more water is added until the husks are completely removed from the grains Once the pounding ‘kukima
mbemba’ is over, the maize is removed from the mortar ‘ndii’and poured on a sack and left to dry in the sun. After drying,
it is placed in a large half calabash and the sieving process is done again by
using two half calabashes ‘nzele’.
It should be noted that for the muthokoi to cook nicely all the outer skin of
the maize (makole) must be removed
by sieving against the wind.
Once this is over, the grains are separated by
selecting carefully the split ones from the whole ones, then the split ones are
put aside and are called ‘nzenga’.
split maize ‘nzenga’ can be cooked as rice. The de-husked grains are the ones
cooked as muthokoi.
A large family will need two to three poundings to cater for
everyone. This meal can be taken as lunch, supper and the leftovers can be used
during breakfast the following morning with yorghurt ‘yiia ikaatu’.
In a clay pot ‘mbisu’ put your muthokoi, add beans ‘mboso’, cowpeas ‘nthooko’,
pidgeon peas ‘nzuu’ or any other legumesand
add some water. Using the traditional fireplace; a three stone fireplace ‘yiiko ya ngu’ light up the fire and
place the pot on the three stones. Let it cook for about 2 – 3 hours. As it
cooks, keep adding more water. When it is about to stick at the bottom of the
pot, add more firewood, lest the fire ebbs out. When thoroughly cooked, drain
out excess water ‘kithoi’ by tilting
the pot a bit. This is called ‘kukeluka
mbisu’. The excess water ‘kithoi ‘ is
very nutritious. It is usually given to babies. One can also use it to add onto
the already served meal if it becomes dry. At this juncture one can opt to add
pumpkins ‘malenge’or ‘mongu’ a species of pumpkin plant, then
mash using a big wooden spoon ‘mwiko’. During our ancestors’ time, there was no salt, so
some soil called (kithaayo) which
was collected from the river was mixed with water and sieved. The result was a salty liquid which was added
to the muthokoi meal. The serving was done on a half calabash then ghee ‘mauta ma ngombe’ was added to make it
tasty or delicious. Spoons carved out of a guard ‘kikuu’ were used for eating
or one could use their bare hands to eat.
For preservation, the muthokoi was wrapped in
banana leaves and put in another half calabash ‘uwa’ then placed on a wooden rack which was and is still used for
drying utensils ‘utaa’. It could
last for almost a week without going bad. Nowadays, the process of shelling the
maize is done by machines in urban towns but in the rural areas the traditional
method is still being used. People have modernized the cooking by frying it using/adding
the following ingredients:
Coriander leaves and other
Muthokoi was mainly cooked during traditional weddings or
during bride price negotiations ‘ngasya’
to feed the visitors. Families could also cook it in absence of any occasions.
In some areas in Ukambani, it is still used
as the cost of living has tremendously shot up and most families substitute
it for rice which has become expensive for many households from the rural areas.
Mutura is a popular sausage-like
delicacy among the Kikuyu tribe of Central Kenya which is prepared by stuffing
the large intestines of either a goat or a cow with a mixture of ingredients.
It is sometimes referred to as the ‘African sausage’.
The ingredients used in preparing
this delicacy include minced meat and blood from the slaughtered animal, leafy
onions, pepper and salt to taste.
The preparation of ‘mutura’
begins when the animal is being slaughtered. The spilling blood is collected in
a calabash or a sufuria and kept aside. Some little salt is added to the blood
to prevent it from clotting.
the animal has been skinned and the various parts separated, the mutura expert
meticulously separates the large intestines (mutura) from the small intestines
(mara). There are two large intestines in the animal. The wider and shorter of
the two is known as ‘mutura wa kiboroboro’ and is very easy to and fast stuff while
the narrower and longer one which is also believed to be sweeter is known as ‘mutura
wa kageri’ and is a little difficult and time consuming to stuff. The two large
intestines are then kept aside to await the preparation of the stuffing mixture.
expert then goes to the various limbs of the slaughtered animal mostly the neck
(ngingo), the lower parts of the ribs (hutiro) as well as the back (mugongo) and
other unpopular parts like the lungs (mahuri) e.t.c., from which he is able to gather enough pieces of meat to stuff the ‘mutura’.
to be stuffed inside the ‘mutura’ requires chopping into very small pieces for
it to go through the opening. In the traditional Kikuyu society unlike today
there were no meat mincing machines and so to chop the meat into small pieces
almost to the size of the minced meat of today, the expert used a sharp panga
and a tree stump (gitiri). This is still in use today as ‘mutura’ prepared
using this method of chopping is believed to be sweeter than that made from
expert places the pieces of meat onto the tree stump and by hitting the meat
against the stump using the sharp edge of the panga, the meat is chopped into
very small pieces which can easily get through the ‘mutura’ during stuffing. The
chopped meat is then put into a sufuria with a little water and salt and cooked
until soft and tender. Some leafy onions and pepper to taste are added to the
meat and allowed to cook together for a few minutes.
Once the mixture is well cooked, it is removed
from the fire and the raw blood which had been kept aside during slaughtering
is now added and mixed thoroughly.
The mixture is now ready for stuffing into the ‘mutura’.
The expert identifies the wider opening of the large intestines (mutura) which
he had kept aside earlier and starts the process of slowly stuffing it with the
mixture. He has to be careful because if he forces the mixture quickly into the
intestines it can rapture and mess the delicacy, he ensures that with every
little stuffing he adds a little fluid mainly the blood which was added to the
mixture so that everything moves smoothly.
He should also not squeeze too much of
the mixture into the ‘mutura’ since if it is too full, it will rapture during
roasting. The stuffing must be done when the mixture is still hot because when
it gets cold stuffing and squeezing in becomes more difficult and the’ mutura’ can
has finished with the stuffing, the’ mutura’ can either be roasted directly on
the charcoal oven or it can first be put into the boiling soup where the head
and the lower legs (mathagiro) are cooking.
Boiling it for a few minutes allows
the raw blood to cook and hold together the mixture so that it doesn't disintegrate during the slicing of the ‘mutura’ when serving.
however prefer to see the red blood as they eat hence they roast without
boiling. It is also possible to prepare ‘mutura’ without any blood at all for
those people who are not comfortable consuming blood.
is then placed on a roasting charcoal oven with very little fire where it is
turned over and over until it is golden brown.
many people in Western Province, the termite season always brings with it
smiles over the hope of uninterrupted supply of natural delicacy. For most of
them, they have to wake up as early as 2am to fetch the insects that are mostly
found on ant hills or form up in holes that are scratched with a stick before
you find more than two termites in a hole or sometimes one.
business has turned out to be a success for many as a small cup of termites
goes for more than twenty shillings depending on the size of the cup. Most
parents and children consume the insects and are supplemented with free
proteins that would cost them if they were to go for meat, chicken or any other
form of protein.
Province residents who know the importance of the insects would do anything to
get them at any cost of sacrificing their sleep in exchange of the insects
and some would consume raw while others would fry and munch them with ugali or
are different types of termites with each type having its own name among Bamasaaba people of Western and Eastern
Uganda. To start with we have chiswa
chisisi which are blackish in colour and the smallest in size. These
ones are mostly seen during the rainy season from about 2pm to 4pm in the
months of September to December. Early in the morning women and children
collect three short sticks which are used to invite the termites. Sticks are
beaten, this is to sound like rain and because termites emerge when it begins
to rain, they all come trooping out during the day.
Bamasaaba people erect a small tent (siswa) which they cover with
blankets leaving an opening that leads to a special hole dug at the opening
where termites will slide into then they are collected. The special hole is
called efubo which has banana
leaves inside and at the entrance where termites slide and fall into the hole.
group of termites is called Chinunda
which are brownish in colour and mostly comes out from 5 pm in the evening
common in the months of December to February. There is also a group called Kamabulithat are common
in the months of December to February that appear late in the evening from 6pm
to 7pm. They are blackish in colour and usually take a very short time after
they start coming out.
are brownish in colour and appear after the season for kamabulialthough they are not eaten.
Chimome are blackish in colour
and normally come out when it is raining, commonly in the months of June to
October. Chindawa termites
are blackish in colour and also appear when it is raining, are common in the
months of April-May
Kamaresi are dark brown in colour,
the biggest in size and normally appear at night. This season as from April to
June is for kamaresithat
people capture at night. They are attracted to the light and that is how Bamasaaba
people get them using light. Kamaswakhe
are blackish in colour and also appear at night.
Chingalabuwe termite species are
common in the months of September to November and are Brownish in colour. Kamaachichiare common in
April to May and their appearance resembles wasps and they are blackish in
colour. They appear mostly at around nine to eleven in the morning.
blackish in colour and are associated with some species of termites. Bisiabubuusually appear in the month of April and are usually small, black and
whitish in colour. They are not eaten among Bamasaaba people because it
is believed one would become deaf if he eats them.